After 28 years at Countryside Village, the Market Basket is looking for a fresh start, planning to relocate in February from Omaha’s oldest shopping center to one of its newest.
The cafe, known as a lunchtime destination for west Omaha women, will make a 1.3-mile move from 87th and Pacific Streets to the new Loveland Centre at 90th Street and West Center Road. It will be following a former Countryside neighbor, the Bookworm.
Restaurant founder Liz Liakos and co-owner Trish Liakos, her daughter-in-law, said that it’s time for a change and that they look forward to updating their dining room and menu.
“It’s going to be great fun being in a new space, introducing a new menu and bringing new people in and sharing what we do and why we love it,” Trish Liakos said.
She said customers have been asking about the restaurant’s plans since earlier this year, when other businesses closed or relocated away from Countryside. There are nine vacant shops at the center and about 25 businesses open, according to Countryside management. Two temporary “pop-up” shops are opening soon for the holidays.
Owner Andrew Myers, whose grandparents built Countryside Village in 1953 and owned shops there, said Wednesday that the owners of two established Omaha restaurants are interested in the Market Basket space and that another restaurant is interested in the space vacated in October by the Bookworm. He said he expects to have new tenants to announce by the end of the year.
About the Market Basket, he said, “They’ve been a longtime member of the Village family and we wish them well.”
The new Market Basket, to be situated on the north endcap of Loveland Centre, will be about the same size, 4,000 square feet, but will have an updated “French market feel” and make better use of its space, Liz Liakos said.
It will continue to offer breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch, along with catering services and an extensive menu of desserts and bakery goods.
Liz Liakos said she wants to expand her dinner business and attract more male customers and date-goers with more “upscale” entrees, especially seafood, new varieties of house-baked bread, more seasonal fare and a bigger bar and patio seating for 40.
The Market Basket also will expand its offering of prepared hot and cold foods for the growing numbers of customers who want to eat at home but don’t want to do the cooking.
To continue to compete in a city with a bustling dining scene, “it’s got to be new all the time,” Liz Liakos said.
But one menu item isn’t going anywhere. “I think we’d have a revolt on our hands if we didn’t serve chicken salad,” she said.
Liakos and a partner opened the restaurant Oct. 1, 1986, and in 1993 Liakos bought out her partner’s share and added dinner hours and, later, Sunday brunch hours.
Patricia Newman has been a Market Basket customer dating at least to the year she bought cupcakes for her son’s first-grade class on his birthday. He’s now 25. She heads to the Market Basket for family celebrations and business meetings alike, and plans to follow the business to its new location.
“I love that it’s a community,” she said. “It’s something really unique that they have to offer. I don’t know where else you could get it.”
Mary Gray has been a customer all 28 years, and her grown children ask to go there when they are home in Omaha. She called the move a “great idea.”
“There isn’t as much traffic at Countryside Village as there was, and that is going to affect business,” she said. She said she likes the newer menu items the restaurant has been trying and will follow the business.
Loveland Centre property developer Slosburg is “thrilled” the Market Basket will be a tenant, said Leigh Andres, who is handling leasing there.
“They have enjoyed a great reputation for providing excellent food and service to the Omaha community,” she said in a statement. Andres said restaurants bring traffic to a retail center, and she is in talks with other restaurant operators for other spaces in the center.
The Market Basket and Countryside Village management said the restaurant will remain open at Countryside until shortly before it opens at Loveland. Its lease expired in October, and Trish Liakos said they are leasing under a holdover agreement.